"Traditionally, hunters have been the most avid conservationists, contributing far more than their share so that all Americans can enjoy wildlife," said John Rogers, the Service's acting director.
"Young people learn more than just how to hunt when they go into the field," Rogers said. "They learn valuable lessons about preparedness, responsibility, outdoor ethics, and wildlife conservation. They become part of our conservation future."
If the proposal is enacted, states would be able to select one "Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day" in addition to their regular duck season. The day would have to be held outside of any regular duck season on either a weekend or holiday when youths would have the maximum opportunity to participate. The day could be held up to 10 days before or after any regular duck season and within any split of a regular duck season.
The youngsters would have to be 16 years old or younger and accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old. The adult would not be allowed to hunt. Both the youth and the accompanying adult would have to be properly licensed according to state law.
Under the proposal, the daily bag limit would be no more than four ducks. Flyway-specific restrictions applying to the regular duck season also would be in effect.
Because the one-day hunt would be limited to youths, the Service believes waterfowl populations could support the additional harvest.
The public may comment on the proposal until July 5, 1996. Comments should be sent to: Chief (MBMO), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 634 Arlington Square, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240.
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